Simplifying the Dreaded Reading Lessons

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. My sweet hubby sent me on a surprise weekend to Palm Beach with my girlfriends right before my big 4-0 birthday (yikes!).  I came home with the flu and spent the next six days in bed. Guess that’s what happens with old age.

Anyway, the downtime gave me plenty of opportunity to think over areas of my life that I have purposefully simplified and those areas that are still a big tangled mess. One area that I feel is in a nice groove is my homeschool routine. Yup…I am an unplanned homeschooler – meaning it wasn’t until a few years ago I felt a tug and then a full-on yank to be my kids’ main teacher. This wasn’t anything I planned on doing, in fact we were on a good track. We got our daughter into the “feeder” preschooler (those of you all in big cities know what I am talking about) that would lead to a good recommendation to one of the area’s top private schools. How we were going to pay for that was another story. But something changed in my heart and I knew that although it would not be perfect, I could do just as good of a job at teaching my kids and gain a lifetime worth of adventures while doing it.

So anyway, we are on the front end of this journey. I have decided to keep it extremely simple. We are involved in a classical education co-op that meets weekly and reviews a significant amount of memory work and does two science projects. Beyond that, I work on reading, math, creative writing and piano with the kids. I can get into some of our specific curriculums (and lack-there-of) in a later post.

I am extremely constricted with the amount of time I put into teaching. I work ¾ time (30 – 40 hours a week), so I must be efficient and look for ways to review school work while doing other household chores. For us, reading is critical. Once they master the ability to read and comprehend, they can start teaching themselves and their siblings new subjects. So I was very purposeful in choosing our reading curriculum.

I went with the time tested Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. This book has been around since 1986 (which doesn’t seem that long ago…but that’s almost 30 years) and is a staple in homeschooling and education communities. It is based on learning step-by-step different sounds and how to put them together to read words and then eventually stories.

Cementing the different sounds in children’s memories is absolutely critical for them to improve. Even though each lesson only take 10 – 30 minutes, there are some days that I only have two minutes over the breakfast table. So I decided to create a “Wall of Sounds”. Yes, I printed out the various sounds, used painter’s tape to put them on my kitchen wall and then take a few minutes each day to go over them with the kids. When I have more time I rearrange the sounds so they spell words. This has worked extremely well, and eventually the kids start spelling words on their own.

So you don’t have to recreate the wheel, we went ahead and created the sound printables for you! You can print them on cardstock or take time to laminate them and use as flashcards. However you decide to use them, I know you will find that they make review-on-the-run much easier if you are a homeschooler or a mom trying to help your kids read better.

Here is the link to the type of tape that’s a staple in my house. It allows me to put anything up on the wall without damaging our paint. You can also print out extra vowels and other letters to spell sentences for more advanced readers.

I hope you find them useful and a way to simplify your life just a little. Let us know how you use them!

wall of sounds


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